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sports, a most valuable player (MVP)
award is an honor typically bestowed upon the best-performing player (or players) in an entire league, for a particular competition, or on a specific team. Initially used in professional sports, the term is now also commonly used in amateur sports, as well as in other completely unrelated fields such as business and music. In many sports, MVP awards are presented for a specific match—in other words, a
man of the match award.
The term is most common in the
United States and
Canada. In other cases, "
player of the year" is used. In Australia,
clubs and leagues use the term "
best and fairest", while those playing
rugby league use "player of the year", such as the
Dally M Medal.
National Basketball League, however, uses the American-style "MVP" for its awards. Insofar as there is a distinction between an MVP and a player of the year, a "player of the year" describes the greatest individual talent, while a "most valuable player" is a person most responsible for their team's success.
In many cases the awards are voted on by members of the
media. In others the vote is by players,
coaches, or umpires. In recent years,
online polls from the public decide some awards.